Confessions of a recovering lesbian
(Catholicsistas.com) - One of the most controversial teachings of Catholicism is its teaching on homosexuality. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. (2357)
For most of us, this teaching is challenging, especially if someone we love is gay or lesbian. But what if you are the Catholic struggling with these desires? Is it possible to be faithful to the Church’s teachings and still be happy?
Yes, it is.
I am a 37-year-old Catholic woman who has been happily married for nearly 15 years. We have five children that I homeschool. I also struggle daily with same-sex attraction.
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Most gays and lesbians will tell you they “knew” they were homosexual from a young age. I didn’t. I had the usual crushes on boys growing up and like most heterosexual women, envisoned myself getting married and having children with a great man.
Then I met Nora. Nora lived in my freshman dorm and we had several classes together, so we began spending a lot of time together. My boyfriend encouraged the friendship because it gave me a buddy when he was working. Nora and I had many of the same interests and were quickly “BFFs.”
One day a few months later, however, a startling thought crossed my mind: “I’m in love with Nora.” It frightened me badly to have that thought. I cried for hours, trying to figure a way out of the conundrum of being in love with a woman. It was all there, just as it had been with men: the emotional and yes, even the physical attraction.
I avoided Nora, but she insisted on knowing what was wrong. I finally told her how I felt, almost hoping she’d recoil in horror. Instead, she confessed she felt the same about me. And no, neither of us had ever been attracted to a woman before.
I know some of you may be thinking, “What do you mean, you just ‘woke up’ one day and fell in love with a woman? Can that really happen??” Not really. There were many factors in both our pasts that made us vulnerable to same-sex attraction. Nora had been repeatedly molested by a male cousin as a child. I was abandoned by my birth mother and grew up being physically abused by my mentally-ill adoptive mother. For Nora, I was safe. For me, Nora offered the nurturing bond with a female I’d never had. Neither of us had had any guidance about sexuality other than “don’t get pregnant.” Nor did we have any faith in God, which made it easier to ignore our consciences when tempted to become involved.
That summer, we began what turned out to be a three-year affair. Nora and I chose to be roommates for my remaining two years of college. Bizarrely enough, we periodically dated men while together. In the days before same-sex “marriage” and Cat Cora’s embryo exchanges, neither of us could imagine giving up our dream of a “real” family. I realize now that despite our attraction to one another, God’s call to union through marriage was still written on our hearts. We cared deeply for one another, but we still wanted the fairy tale wedding, the marriage, the children, the white picket fence. And in our mind, none of that was possible as a lesbian couple.
Perhaps that’s why we went to great pains to hide our relationship from friends and family. Though we couldn’t imagine life without one another, we couldn’t imagine a future together, either. We both felt an enormous sense of shame about our behavior, though most of our friends were liberal and would never have judged us. Half our friends were even gay or lesbian themselves. Yet we instinctively protected our images as heterosexual women.
A few months before graduation, I met a young man whose brilliant mind and sense of humor ended my relationship with Nora. Though I didn’t marry him, he nonetheless offered me the sense of normalcy I’d craved since becoming involved with a woman. Nora didn’t take it well and decided to come out as a lesbian to her family. She exposed our secret to anyone who would listen. Her family, which had warmly welcomed me into their home for three years, completely shunned me. In their eyes, I had corrupted their daughter and was a sexual deviant.
I never dated another woman after Nora, mostly because I never met another to whom I felt such a strong emotional attraction. The sexual attraction to women, however, never went away. I discovered that while I was still attracted to individual men, I was primarily attracted to women as a whole both sexually and emotionally.
Two years later, I met my husband, a man I felt all those things for and more. I went into marriage happy I’d finally achieved a “normal” life. Yet even then, same-sex attraction insidiously inserted itself. When I traveled out of town for work, I struggled not to go to lesbian bars. But I had promised fidelity and I had to honor that. I somehow knew if I cheated on my husband, I would be truly lost as a person. I thank God every day for helping me fight down those temptations.
Then we became Catholic. If our vows were sacred before, now they were sacramental. And while I was obedient to the Church, I did not fully understand its teachings on sexuality until I studied the “theology of the body” by John Paul II. Finally, I understood my body’s purpose and why marriage was so sacred. I understood why I’d never been satisfied with Nora and why I’d yearned to unite myself to a man and have a family.
But understanding my sexuality did not make the temptations go away. I could not just turn off the habit of being sexually aroused by women. For a while, I convinced myself that as long as I wasn’t actually engaging in homosexual acts, I wasn’t sinning (i.e., fantasy is okay). The more I understood authentic chastity, however, the flimsier this excluse became. Am I “pure of heart” when indulging in sinful fantasies during the most intimate act of my marriage? How is imagining another person during that time respectful to my beloved? I knew that real chastity required something more than simply following the letter of the law; it required a conversion of heart.
I am happy to say that the battle today is easier than in the early years of marriage. I remain faithful to God and my husband because I work hard to avoid near occasions of sin. For instance, I avoid deeply emotional friendships with women that eclipse the one with my husband. I don’t watch gay- and lesbian-themed movies. I also have trained my imagination to avoid impure fantasies. It can be tempting to fall into old thought patterns, especially if I’m tired. But if necessary, I’ll shut down physically and emotionally to avoid offending God. No fleeting sensual pleasure is worth offending Jesus, who suffered so much to save me.
It helps, too, to know that what I have with my husband trumps anything I could have had in a homosexual relationship. The most amazing quality of our union is God’s gift of cooperating with him in creating a unique person who possesses an immortal soul. It’s a transcendent, awesome spiritual privilege I would have missed as a lesbian.
Naturally, I have profound compassion for those who struggle as I do. But I don’t believe we must indulge same-sex attraction if we experience it. I’m really no different than a straight man who struggles not to objectify women. Or a straight woman who is tempted to fornicate. We’re all broken people, which is why we all need Christ.
I’m not capable of re-ordering my broken sexuality, but as I’ve witnessed in the past decade, it can be reordered with grace and trust in Jesus. It just takes time and a desire to be healed. Sanctification, after all, is a lifelong process. I take comfort in the fact that slowly but surely, God is healing the wounds in my soul from the sexual sins that marred it.
Does God love His children who struggle with same-sex attraction? Yes, of course. But He loves us too much to leave us that way.
This testimony originally appeared at Catholicsistas.com and is reprinted with permission of the author.
Texas AG to Target: Show me how you’ll protect women and kids from criminals
AUSTIN, Texas, May 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The latest backlash Target received as a result of its transgender bathroom policy was a letter from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asking the company to provide its safety policies to protect women and children from “those who would use the cover of Target’s restroom policy for nefarious purposes.”
“Target, of course, is free to choose such a policy for its Texas stores,” Paxton wrote in a letter to Target CEO Brian Cornell. He noted the possibility of the Texas Legislature addressing the issue in the future, but said, “regardless of whether Texas legislates on this topic, it is possible that allowing men in women’s restrooms could lead to criminal and otherwise unwanted activity.”
“As chief lawyer and law enforcement officer for the State of Texas, I ask that you provide the full text of Target’s safety policies regarding the protection of women and children from those who would use the cover of Target’s restroom policy for nefarious purposes,” Paxton continued.
More than 1.1 million people have pledged to boycott Target over its new policy allowing men to access women’s bathrooms. Opponents of the policy worry that it puts women and children at risk by emboldening predators, who may now freely enter women’s restrooms.
Target’s new policy is “inclusive,” the company claims, and they say “everyone…deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally.”
“Texans statewide can no longer be silent on the issue of protecting the safety of women and children,” Texas Values President and Attorney Jonathan Saenz said in a statement Wednesday urging Texans to boycott Target. This is the first time in its history the pro-family group has called for a boycott.
“We need all Texans to understand that Target is using this radical change in their store policy to try convince people that our laws should be changed in this dangerous direction as well,” said Saena. “Our goal with this boycott is for Target to change its dangerous new policy, to raise awareness of the real threats to safety that these policies bring and to help businesses and lawmakers understand the significant opposition to such measures that is growing daily… Texans all across our state must join this Boycott Target effort before someone gets hurt.”
On Tuesday a male allegedly filmed an underage girl at a Frisco, Texas, Target fitting room. Police are searching for the man.
There have been numerous incidents of male predators across North America accessing women’s facilities and citing transgender policies as allowing them to do so.
Christians, America has reached a crisis point. Are you ready to take up this challenge?
May 5, 2016 (Albert Mohler) -- For nearly two and a half centuries, Americans have enjoyed the enormous privilege and responsibility of forming our own government—a privilege rarely experienced throughout most of human history. For most of history, humanity has struggled with the question of how to respond to a government that was essentially forced upon them. But Americans have often struggled with a very different reality; how do we rightly respond to the government that we choose?
To put all of this in historical perspective, the Framers of the American experiment understood that a representative democracy built on the principle of limited government would require certain virtues of its citizens. These would include a restraint of passions and an upholding of traditional moral virtues, without which democracy would not be possible. As the idea of limited government implies, the citizenry would be required to carry out the social responsibilities of the community without the intrusion of government and, thus, citizens would be expected to have the moral integrity necessary for such an arrangement. The Framers of the American Republic also agreed that it would be impossible to have a representative democracy and a limited government if the people did not elect leaders who embodied the virtues of the citizenry while also respecting and protecting society’s pre-political institutions: marriage and family, the church, and the local community.
Thus, the idea of a limited government requires that society uphold and pursue the health of its most basic institutions. When a civil society is weak, government becomes strong. When the family breaks down, government grows stronger. When the essential institutions of society are no longer respected, government demands that respect for itself. That is a recipe for tyranny.
Much of this was essentially affirmed until the early decades of the 20th century when progressivists began promoting an agenda that fundamentally redefined the role of the federal government in public life. By the middle of the 20th century, the Democratic Party had essentially embraced this progressivist agenda, becoming committed to an increasingly powerful government—a government whose powers exceeded those enumerated in the Constitution. At the same time, the Democratic Party also began advocating for a basic redefinition of the morality that shaped the common culture. By and large, however, the Republican Party continued to maintain a commitment to the vision of America’s founders, advocating for a traditional understanding of morality while also upholding the principle of limited government.
By the 1980s, the two parties represented two very different worldviews and two very different visions of American government. For decades, each party has acted rather predictably and in ways that accord with their fundamental principles. All of that, however, has now changed.
The 2016 presidential campaign has developed in an entirely unpredictable manner and, in many respects, represents a crisis in American democracy. This crisis is not limited to either party. Bernie Sanders, the Independent senator from Vermont, has won several stunning victories in the primary season over presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. While it is still extremely likely that Clinton will become the Democratic nominee, Sanders support among voters represents a populist flirtation with Democratic Socialism. This pattern is something few Democrats could have imagined just one year ago. What this foray into Democratic Socialism represents, then, is a radical adjustment of the Democratic Party’s basic economic principles. Thus, even if Hillary Clinton becomes the nominee, the process will likely drag her even further to the left, eventually redefining the Democratic Party before our very eyes.
But if it is remarkable to see what is happening in the Democratic Party, it is absolutely shocking to see what is happening among Republicans. Traditionally, the Republican Party has established its reputation by standing for the principles advocated by the American Founders—limited government upheld by the health of society’s primary institutions such as marriage, family, and community. Yet Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, represents virtually everything the Republican Party has typically defined itself over against. Clearly, both political parties are now redefining themselves. What is not clear is where each party will ultimately end up. What is also not clear is whether the American experiment can survive such radical political change.
As already noted, the American experiment in limited government requires that the citizenry and those who hold public office honor certain moral virtues and respect the institutions that are crucial for a society to rightly function. Yet, we now find ourselves in a situation where the three leading candidates for president show little to no respect for such institutions in their articulations of public policy.
This fundamental redefinition of the American political landscape requires Christians to think carefully about their political responsibility. Make no mistake; we cannot avoid that responsibility. Even refusing to vote is itself a vote because it privileges those who do vote and increases the value of each ballot. In truth, we bear a political responsibility that cannot be dismissed or delegated to others. Every Christian must be ready to responsibly steward his or her vote at the polls.
To put the matter bluntly, we are now confronted with the reality that, in November, Hillary Clinton will likely be the Democratic nominee and Donald Trump the Republican nominee. This poses a significant problem for many Christians who believe they cannot, in good conscience, vote for either candidate. As a result, Christians are going to need a lot of careful political reflection in order to steward their vote and their political responsibility in this election cycle.
Headlines from around the world tell us that other representative democracies are at a similar moment of redefinition. Political turmoil now marks the United Kingdom and also nations like France and other key American allies. Perhaps democracy itself is now facing a crucial hour of decision and a crucial season of testing. It is no exaggeration to say that democracy is being tested around the world; it is certainly being tested here at home. Yet if this is a moment of testing for democracy, it is also a crucial moment for Christian witness. This election cycle is going to be a particular test for American Christians—and we are about to find out if Christians are up to this challenge.
Reprinted with permission from Albert Mohler.
‘Sick and twisted’: Scientists keep embryos alive outside womb up to 13 days for experimentation
May 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Two teams of scientists have announced that they have been able to keep human embryos alive outside the womb for 13 days for the purpose of conducting scientific experiments. Some call the announcement the onset of a “Brave New World,” while others are petitioning lawmakers to lift sanctions that would keep scientists from experimenting on newly conceived babies even longer.
Researchers from Cambridge University, King's College, and Rockefeller University said in two separate reports that they stopped at 13 days only to avoid violating an internationally accepted law. At least 12 nations restrict the amount of time a newly conceived child may be kept alive in a laboratory to 14 days, the point at which scientists believe “individuality” begins.
The newest development allows scientists to observe newly conceived human beings after the point at which implantation in the womb would have occurred.
Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, one of the studies' lead researchers, said her team's breakthrough could advance embryonic stem cell research and “can improve IVF success.”
Some scientists have called on the international community to extend the amount of time such experimentation can take place.
“If restrictions such as the 14-day rule are viewed as moral truths, such cynicism would be warranted,” three experts – Insoo Hyun, Amy Wilkerson, and Josephine Johnston – wrote in a commentary published yesterday in Nature magazine. “But when they are understood to be tools designed to strike a balance between enabling research and maintaining public trust, it becomes clear that, as circumstances and attitudes evolve, limits can be legitimately recalibrated.”
Pro-life experts said the experimentation destroys human life and could lead to grave ethical dilemmas by extending the research.
“No human being should be used for lethal experimentation, no matter their age or stage of development,” said Dr. David Prentice, a professor of molecular genetics and an Advisory Board Member for the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center. “The 14-day rule is itself arbitrary, and does not assuage those who believe life begins at the moment of sperm-egg fusion. Moreover, allowing experiments on human embryos beyond 14 days post-fertilization risks the lives of untold more human beings, because it further encourages creation and destruction for research purposes.”
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, called the experimentation “sick and twisted.”
“Science has undeniably proven that a new human life, with unrepeatable DNA, begins at conception,” she said. “There is no reason for experimentation on that human life and science itself should not be heralding thae fact that a tiny human being can survive now for two weeks outside of the womb, all for the sole purpose of experimentation.”
Dr. Prentice noted that embryonic stem cell research “has yielded no benefit thus far,” leading even its most vocal advocates, such as Michael J. Fox, to admit it has not lived up to its promise.
“If this research does not stop at 14 days, where does it stop?” asked Prentice. “This is a risky step which could encourage further eugenic attitudes and actions.”
Dr. Prentice encouraged Congress “to have a full and open debate on the issue of human embryo research before the research community moves further without oversight.”